IKEA Finally Gets Around To Creating Assembly Videos

If you’ve ever tried to furnish a home or apartment without breaking the bank, you’ve probably come face to face with one or more of IKEA’s essentially wordless, diagrammatic assembly instruction booklets. And if you’ve tried to assemble something more complicated than an ottoman, you might have wished you could just watch someone else do it so you don’t screw it up any further.

The home furnishings retailer has finally gotten with this thing called “YouTube” and begun posting videos of actual human beings slapping together the many pieces of particle board, wood, plastic, metal and glass.

“We understand that not everyone is a natural DIY-er at heart,” explains a rep for IKEA, “so we have created this fun, easy-to-follow video series as an additional tool to lend a helping hand to our customers.”

The first video in the series is for IKEA’s Malm bed, the assembly of which once caused me to create entirely new curse words — not because I didn’t understand the instructions but because nothing quite wanted to fit together.

Finally, at Long Last, Ikea Releases Video Assembly Guides [Curbed]

Thanks to Grant for the tip!

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  1. humphrmi says:

    I once built an Ikea entertainment center, pretty much perfectly. It was sturdy as all hell. Then, when we replaced it, I watched a friend take it apart with a hand saw and glue it back together in his home. Then he proceeded to complain to me at every opportunity how rickety it was.

  2. Tim says:

    Oo I have a Malm, actually. Who knew it was supposed to look like that?

    • PaulR says:

      I have a Malm (bed, dresser, side-tables) as well. Mine doesn’t look like the video either.

      Well, mine’s ‘oak’, not black. Maybe that’s why.

      I’ve never understood why people have a hard time reading Ikea’s instructions. I’ve always found them clear and easy to understand. Maybe the problem is those other folk, eh?

  3. pottsy215 says:

    I never understood the complaints about assembling Ikea furniture. I find it fun and super simple. I’ve built beds, coffee tables, TV stands, dressers, and other odds and ends. Never once had a problem and the stuff ends up sturdy as hell. In fact, I have a bed that I bought, put together, used for three years, then disassembled, moved and put back together and have continued to use it for another 5 years.

    • qwickone says:

      +1 I think if you’re detail-oriented, it’s really easy. The instructions are very accurate (in my limited experience, I only have a handful of pieces from IKEA), but you have to pay CLOSE attention to all the details in the pictures.

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      It’s just like playing with life-size Legos. With hardware tools.

  4. caradrake says:

    I like the sound effects.

  5. SkokieGuy says:

    I don’t have time to watch the video right now, but I sure hope the voice-over is done by the voice of the Swedish Chef and that the insist on using Ikea-isms during the instructions.

    Grab a Snorgen and insert the Clickel into the Murm Base, don’t over-shnicksnurg, or a Floopenburgle may occur. If this occurs, this will not be considered a manufacturing defect.

  6. Gman says:

    Yet even after watching this video I will still get to step #23 before I realize that the frame I fitted together in #4 is backwards.

  7. CubeRat says:

    Cool, I plan to buy several pieces of a storage unit/entertainment thingy later this week. Maybe I should check to see if it has a video available first.

  8. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    As a fan of mid century design I like my furniture to be between 40-80 years old, purchased from a thrift store or handed down from generations past, and to be made from solid wood. IKEA particle board and all types of furniture in a box is my own personal nemesis.

    • humphrmi says:

      The thrift stores, at least in my area, have caught on to this. Last time I looked for solid wood furniture in a thrift store, it cost thousands of dollars. Some folks don’t have the budget for it.

      • caradrake says:

        Last time I was browsing the furniture section in SalArmy, they wanted $100 for a beaten, scratched up particle board bookcase, that you could get for $30 brand new at Walmart…. I tend to consider thrift shops (at least the ones around me) to be absolutely horrible for furniture.

        I’ve seen a lot of nicer solid wood pieces at yard sales at great prices, but don’t have the means to transport them home, so I’ve had to pass.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          if i had a truck i’d go hang out at yard sales with a sign saying “$15 to take that furniture you just bought home for you”
          you could make a hundred bucks on a saturday morning, easy

        • human_shield says:

          Salvation Army is notorious about this. All their stuff is cheap Walmart junk and way overpriced. There are other local thrift stores that have good stuff, typically located near ritzy neighborhoods.

          • Major Tom Coming Home says:

            The used furniture I have purchased has all been very reasonably priced and good quality. I’m surprised this isn’t the case everywhere. Must be all the older folks moving to Florida and downsizing to mobile homes and trailers.

            I agree salvation tends to run on the high side. I have the most luck at Goodwill or a small local family run used furniture store.

  9. NumberSix says:

    This is a good thing, but this stuff just isn’t that hard. I find it best not to try to out-think the instructions or try to do something ahead of time. Also, I use wood glue (especially in the joints of the bottoms of drawers) to help make the stuff nice and strong.

  10. Sarek says:

    I’m glad there’s no Ikea around for 100 miles.

  11. Tunnen says:

    The question now is: Will they provide printed pictorial manuals on how to get to and play the video? And how many people will still bitch that they can’t understand and that the instructions must be in Swedish (When they are just pictures). =P

  12. The Twilight Clone says:

    I think it’s a popular online myth that Ikea products are difficult to assemble. I’ve never found that to be the case. Everything I’ve bought there has been pretty easy.

    • Gman says:

      For me when I assemble them I consistently seem to find I placed one item backwards. [Ex. the unfinished site is facing the wrong way]

      It is not that they are difficult to assemble, it is difficult to tell some parts from others when they are similar and especially tell what side is to be used of that part. I think clearer shading and actual aprt numbering would go a very long way towards that on some of the more complicated pieces.

    • Charmander says:

      Yes, I find it ridiculously simple to assemble all sorts of items. Plus, I really like doing it.

      But there are people who are not like you and I, which is why the need for the video.

  13. golddog says:

    I think the installer in the videos should have to wear a costume such that they look like the blobbish, Ziggy-looking character from the manuals.

  14. nybiker says:

    Sold separately.

  15. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    regarding parts not quite fitting:
    all the ikea flat pack instructions neglect to tell you that you should also have a rubber mallet on hand for wedging in those tight fitting pieces.
    glad they have youtube tutorials finally. i can’t watch at work – is it in english or swedish?

  16. tungstencoil says:

    Only loosely related:

    I once purchased a rather large entertainment system with multiple shelves, connected bits, etc. from a higher-end but similar to Ikea company. The purchase was made with a small windfall; at the furniture store they said, “This comes packed flat for assembly. You can pay $120 to have the delivery guys assemble it.”

    Normally I would have said “no way” but something in the way the guy said it gave me pause. I agreed…

    When the guys arrived I got a look at the assembly instructions. Holy freaking poop, it was AMAZINGLY complicated. Blew away anything I’d seen from Ikea. Took two guys *4 hours* to put it together.

    The one guy commented when he started that this was his third one, and that I’d gotten the better end of the bargain.

  17. Snoofin says:

    Id rather they just sell it to me assembled in the first place. When I buy a product I shouldnt need to be a carpenter or maintenance man just to use it. Everything should come pre-assembled

  18. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Nice video – easy to follow.

    My tip for assembling any particle board furniture – use a GOOD glue (I like Gorilla Glue) and you pretty much need a sledgehammer to break it.

    • Kuchen says:

      Only if you NEVER plan on moving. We have a few large IKEA pieces, and there is no way we could have moved them between apartments without being able to disassemble and reassemble them. We had a desk (not from IKEA, but particle board) that my father-in-law had used Gorilla Glue to put together. It wouldn’t fit through the door when we moved out and we ended up having to bust it apart.

  19. human_shield says:

    You can assemble most of that stuff without the instructions, let alone video. Good for IKEA for listening to their customers. Shame on society for being so stupid.

  20. sven.kirk says:

    How about some decent screw alternatives that don’t strip out.

  21. lint42 says:

    Seriously, the stuff is easy as hell to put together. Ikea furniture is FAR easier to put together than any other piece of furniture I have ever put together. Do we need videos on how to eat McDonalds food next?

  22. shmoos says:

    I’m 79 years of age, and according to my son, I’m not the greatest in assembling things.
    Over the years I have been able to assemble things I bought from ikea without too much trouble.
    From time to time I have had to backtrack, but everything worked out in the end.

  23. BBG says:

    I make my own Ikea furniture at home.

    I love assembling Ikea stuff. It’s like Lego for grown-ups, except when you’re done, you get useful furniture!

    Also, it’s not ALL particleboard. There are items that use real wood, but of course, they cost more.

  24. kobresia says:

    There was this one time, back when I had a roommate, when he came home with a flat-pack desk with shelves.

    He was also an alcoholic, and got all drunk (like he did every night, on the bottom-shelf plastic handle jug swill) right before digging-in to assemble the thing. I heard much cursing and noise from his room, but by some miracle, he managed to get it assembled correctly without breaking it.

    I bet “drunk people assembling flatpack furniture” would make for much better videos than this, I regret not convincing the former roomie to let me record a video of him at that endeavor.

  25. LibraMedia says:

    I have been creating animated assembly instructions for years now and find that they are far better than videoing actors doing things. Please, this is not self promotion I just wanted to state a few facts.
    If you have a video of someone making things there are certain angles you can’t get with a camera as well as not being able to make things semi-transparent which can be a massive bonus.
    Also, the way I do things is very cost effective. There is no need for actors, cameramen, lighting, studio costs, post production staff, a director etc
    Animation gives you the ability to express and see things in a very detailed yet simplified manner.
    I can’t see how this kind of video can be bettered, it is the future.
    I think IKEA’s move into video is very wise but their approach could have been far superior to what they have done.
    To see an example of what I mean just look here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNu2ZqhbrNk